Zone 7 directors took the right action to help homeowners | Tim Talk | Tim Hunt | |

Local Blogs

Tim Talk

By Tim Hunt

E-mail Tim Hunt

About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

View all posts from Tim Hunt

Zone 7 directors took the right action to help homeowners

Uploaded: Mar 21, 2017
It took a crisis, but the Zone 7 board and staff finally stepped up to its responsibility.
Last week, faced with the imminent prospect of two homes falling into the raging Arroyo de la Laguna south of the Castlewood bridge, the board voted unanimously to sponsor the emergency repairs. The Zone 7 staff had been working on the problem faced by two families for a few weeks before bringing the situation to the board. Zone 7 provides wholesale water and flood control services to the Livermore Valley.
Because both the governor and the president had declared California a disaster area, there is the possibility of federal aid.
So, despite the normally arduous prospect of getting permits from the resource agencies and the Army Corps. of Engineers, work started Friday, two days after the board’s approval. With the emergency declaration that identifies a threat to life and property, it can take months to get a permit and work can only be done in dry months.
This is an issue I have dealt with for literally 20 years since my backyard went from a gentle slope into the arroyo to a steep cliff. Those cliffs now are common for the 20 properties that have the arroyo in their backyard. There have been a few halting steps forward, but no action to fix the problem.
The arroyo drains about 425 square miles of watershed stretching from the hills south of Livermore into Contra Costa County. There are a mix of properties—most are privately owned. The Castlewood Country Club has lots of arroyo frontage on its valley course, while the San Francisco Public Utilities Districts owns the land south of the Verona Bridge. A couple of demonstration projects were installed on the San Francisco land to test whether solutions other than concrete or large rock rip-rap could preserve the property and limit the erosion.
I thought Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton’s city manager, had it right in his letter that was read at the meeting when he argued that Zone 7 owns more than 37 miles of flood control and drainage channels that all dump into the Arroyo de la Laguna. Expecting private landowners to cope with the results of greatly increased flows caused by development with hard surfaces upstream is both unfair and unrealistic.
Zone 7 has been collecting a fee on impermeable surfaces (parking lots) for many years for flood control expenses.
Here's hoping and praying that this week’s storms are mild so no further damage is done to the banks south. And, equally importantly, that a permanent solution for the reach is quickly developed so improvements can take place this summer and fall.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by tom coleman, a resident of Castlewood,
on Mar 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

The article captures much of what this issue is about. That municipalities and the developers they approve must shoulder responsibility for downstream flooding of homeowners and their properties. Witnessing the out of control Arroyo, it has now become a raging beast during significant rainstorms, quickly eroding the now vertical cliffs who could have not anticipated what this waterway has now become. Zone 7 should continue what they've now started, which is to properly channel and control the Arroyo.

Posted by David, a resident of Oak Tree Acres,
on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm

As one of the homeowners I agree with all the comments from Tim and Tom. We appreciate the support of many on this topic. We are glad that it has been recognized as something that needs to be addressed. This emergency fix followed by fixing the Arroyo in general is important.

Zone 7 has been in the creek trying to move the main flow back to the center. Unfortunately with the rains, this has failed. We continue to encourage them to help protect the actual slope as the river is hard to control when the flow increases as it does.

Fortunately this weekend, I had 20 of my great friends help make, carry and place 800 sandbags. We would have done more but we all finally got too tired doing all this by hand. Most of us are 50 to 65 years old. Lots of tired old bodies went to work on Monday. This is what friendship is about....coming to the need of a friend. Unfortunately the water level is right at about the top of the bags now and the big storm is not here yet.

We have many tarps in the yard with 5 pumps to move the water off them quickly.

We are hoping Zone 7 will protect the slopes before Friday's storm.

thanks for all the support to many

Posted by Isotope, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Mar 22, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Isotope is a registered user.

I still have mixed feelings on this whole thing. On one side, those people that choose to buy a house on the arroyo (or ocean front, or on a cliff, hillside) have purchased the place knowing the risks. On the other hand, there are areas that the local government can control and need to take care of.

I find it annoying though, when people that buy houses over looking the Pacific ocean on a cliff try to sue the local government when their house falls down the cliff.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 23, 2017 at 8:15 am


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Community foundations want to help local journalism survive
By Tim Hunt | 20 comments | 1,716 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Ch. 1, page 1
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,381 views

Pop open the beer at the holiday table
By Deborah Grossman | 3 comments | 873 views